Pancho Dempster - Master of Camelback Ranch

Ryan Dempster threw five shutout innings and Carlos Pena drove-in two runs with a solo HR and a single, leading the Cubs to a 4-3 victory over the White Sox in Cactus League action at Camelback Ranch this afternoon.

box score 

In Chicago "Crosstown Classic" means Northside (Cubs) versus Southside (Sox), but in the Cactus League the "Crosstown Classic" is Eastside (Cubs) versus Westside (Sox). And such it was today, as 11,599 fans crowded into the Stadium at Camelback Ranch to watch the Cubs battle the Sox.

Ryan Dempster was masterful, allowing two hits, a walk, a HBP, and a WP, while striking out six, in 5.0 IP (64 pitches - 38 strikes, 2/4 GO/FO). And one of the hits was a catchable fly ball that fell between Alfonso Soriano and Marlon Byrd in left-centerfield.

Sean Marshall, Thomas Diamond, Scott Maine, and Jeff Samardzija followed Dempster to the hill, with each pitcher throwing one inning. Only Samardzija was ineffective, allowing three runs in the bottom of the 9th on an infield single (not very well played by Blake DeWitt), a ringing double, and a Lastings Milledge two-run HR.

The Cubs scored single runs in each of the first three innings off Sox starter Mark Buehrle.

Jeff Baker led-off the game with a line-drive double into the LF corner (Baker's first of two doubles today), and after Starlin Castro walked and Marlon Byrd was called out on strikes, Geovany Soto ripped a single up through the box to score Baker.

Carlos Pena cracked a solo HR (his first as a Cub) over the right-centerfield fence off Buehrle to lead off the top of the 2nd inning, and then the new Cub first-baseman also knocked-in the third Cub run in the top of the third on a line-drive single down the RF line (also off lefty Buehrle), scoring Geovany Soto from 2nd base. The RBI opportunity was available thanks to a fielding error by White Sox 2B Gordon Beckham on what probably should have been an inning-ending 4-6-3 DP. 

The Cubs scored what proved to be a necessary insurance run in the top of the 9th, as Blake DeWitt and Brett Jackson smacked back-to-back two-out doubles, DeWitt's a ringer into the left-centerfield power alley, and Jackson's an opposite-field liner into the LF corner that was almost an exact duplicate of his walk-off game-winning hit yesterday at HoHoKam.  

Although it did not appear to be a serious injury, Augie Ojeda left the game after being hit on the foot by a Jesse Crain pitch.

The Cubs made two roster moves today, optioning RHP Esmailin Caridad and LHP John Gaub to Iowa. (Minor League Spring Training games start next Thursday). Both pitchers struggled in recent Cactus League outings. Caridad missed most of last season with a sore right elbow and forearm, and Gaub battled control issues at Iowa before being sent to Fitch Park in June.


"when someone yells 'hey carlos' in the lockerroom i don't fall for that anymore." - carlos pena on the amount of carlos-named-players in the lockerroom and how it's become a joke.


They could just nickname our new 1b "Carl Pepper".

Hank White likes that nickname

Ex-Cub minor league 2B Dwayne Kemp is playing for the Royal Dutch (Netherlands) National Team that is playing in the St Petersburg International Baseball Tournament in Florida, so expect to see him playing for The Netherlands in the WBC next year. He is the son of legendary Dutch baseball player, coach, and manager Adonis Kemp.

Kempy was the second European player signed by the Cubs (Italian RHP Alessandro Maestri was the first), and was in the Cubs system for three years (2008-2010). His Cub career never really got very far, mainly due to a series of injuries that kept him at Extended Spring Training three years in a row. He was released last Spring.

The Royal Dutch (Netherlands) National team played the Tampa Bay Rays last Wednesday, and they play the Phillies tomorrow.

AZ Phil: how has Scott Maine looked to you? I'm thinking Grabow starts the season on the DL.
Lefty John Grabow, sidelined in recent days with a sore shoulder, is expected to throw on the side today, with a possible return to a game coming by Tuesday.

Submitted by Cubster on Sat, 03/12/2011 - 8:44am.
AZ Phil: how has Scott Maine looked to you? I'm thinking Grabow starts the season on the DL.


CUBSTER: Right now I'm thinking Scott Maine makes the Cubs Opening Day 25 whether or not Grabow starts the season on the DL. Maine has looked the best of all the relief candidates so far.

Scott Maine and Robert Coello have the best stuff among the younger relievers, but Coello has trouble throwing strikes consistently, so if they keep only one, I believe it would be Maine. Marcos Mateo would probably be third on the list behind Maine and Coello, but he has some control issues, too.

I've been a fan of Maine since the Cubs acquired him.

For those of you who care about these things, Maine is who we eventually got in exchange for Ronnie Cedeno and Felix Pie.

I thought we got him for Heilman.

We did. But we traded Ronnie Cedeno and Garret Olson for Heilman.And previously we traded Felix Pie for Olson.

For the full picture, the Cubs traded Felix Pie to the Orioles for Garrett Olson and Henry Williamson.

Then 10-days later traded Olson and Ronny Cedeno to the Mariners for Aaron Heilman.

Then after a year of Heilman, they traded him to the Diamondbacks for Scott Maine and Ryne White.

Williamson and White have since been released, leaving Maine as the only Cubs link to Pie and Cedeno.

To get an even fuller picture:

The Cubs turned a 1999 undrafted free agent signing (Cedeno) and 5 years of minor league development, a 2001 undrafted free agent signing (Pie) and 7 years of minor league development, into 1 year of Aaron Heilman (72.1 innings pitched, 4.11 ERA) for whatever they also payed him that year, and a 6th round draftee from 2007 (Maine). With Ryne White and Henry Williamson no longer associated with the Cubs, as noted above.

To get an even more fuller picture:

Ronnie Cedeno was orphaned at the age of 18 months when his parents were lost in a freak snowstorm during a trip to the grocery store for Miracle Whip. Cedeno wandered out of the family home and was taken in by wolves, who raised him in their den. Cedeno didn't learn to speak Spanish or any English until his 5th year in the major leagues, instead, uttering nonsensical (to others) phrases like "Ack! Ack Ack Hruuuuuuuuuhhhhh!"

Felix Pie was named after both Felix the Cat and his mother's favorite recipe, Cat Pie.

That Cedeno was eventually traded for Aaron Heilmann was irony in it's true form.


I do think it's interesting that Pie's father was Haitian, which is where the French-sounding name ("P-yay") comes from, and why the Cat Pie story is apocryphal.

It's the Spanish word for foot and it's pronounced exactly that way in Spanish, isn't it? How does Pie sound French?

Yeah, you're right, Charlie. My Spanish is weak or nonexistent. El pie in Spanish, le pied in French, pronounced the same (to my ear).

Felix Foot.

Cat Foot!

Didn't Sandburg (Carl) say that fog comes on little cat feet?

I suddenly feel unclean.

Az Phil, have you seen Junior Lake yet this week? I am wondering if he has gotten bigger and might outgrow the SS position. Thanks.

Submitted by Hagsag on Sat, 03/12/2011 - 10:26am.
Az Phil, have you seen Junior Lake yet this week? I am wondering if he has gotten bigger and might outgrow the SS position. Thanks


HAGSAG: Junior Lake was one of the 16 "early arrivals" among position players at Minor League Camp. He does not look bigger than he did last year. He is still playing SS.

c.silva with 2 decent far.

good 1st/2nd/4th...cruddy 3rd...meh cruddy 5th...

5ip 5h 4er 0bb 2k 2hr

Cubs on in ten minutes on WGN.


smells like mothballs and mold in parachat.

Starlin Castro with a 2 run Vegas H(ooke)R, after Fukudome walked to lead off vs Leake

Scott Moore needs to find a job on this team.

F' Pena.

k.hill double!

1-3 on the day.

he's played some good D behind the plate today, too...blocking and throwing.

Was just gonna post!


He has sealed his spot on the 25-man today!!

Way to go HILL, you offensive machine!!

well hopefully that'll end the Todd Wellemeyer talk

Berg has a scoreless inning lower his ERA to 34.71

McNutt with a scoreless inning as well

Cubs lose 7-6 in game Silva starts

welle needed a continuation of what he was doing to even make it interesting...he sure as hell didn't do that today.

No one seems to want to be the 5th outfielder or 5th starter at this point. I guess Perez and Cashner are the favorites, but they're sure giving Skinny Dick enough PA's.

Coello trying to finish out the win in the other split-squad game that's also versus the Reds.

trying = failing.

neat game, though.

Recent comments

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  • deno ended the season well even though ajax heavily cut into a lot of his chances to play. it's either him or ajax. i'm a bit partial to deno, but least ajax isn't hitting 2nd.

  • Agreed. And, with Hendricks on the mound, Cubs will probably need to score some runs to win -- why not start Soler for his bat and bring in Ajax for defense later?

    NEVER MIND....just re-read the lineup.

  • If the Cubs have the lead in the 8th, who pitches? Rodney? Travis? Yikes.

  • The Cubs had some good runs and nice winning streaks that propelled them to the playoffs. Austin Jackson wasn't part of that. I don't quite understand what it is about Jackson that they are so enamored with.

  • I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.

  • Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.

  • Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell

  • if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.

  • I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth

  • Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.

    Wtf is up w/that?!

  • Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...

  • I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.

  • Awesome stuff, Phil.

  • listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.

    That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.

  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.